My entire history with the Navy have been trying to get the Navy to focus on families and child care and all the things that they were way behind in – housing, all of those things.
I worked probably 25 years by myself, just writing and working, not trying to publish much, not giving readings.
The problem with merely writing so that you can be understood is that the wrong people, in advancing their agendas, are only too ready to misunderstand you. Writing so that you cannot be misunderstood anticipates and preempts those who would willfully distort what you are trying to say.
When the Americans were trying to conquer the Navajos, they felt this need to capture Canyon de Chelly like it was the Navajo capital. It was a meeting place and a sanctuary of last refuge. To control Canyon de Chelly was to control the Navajo people.
The vast majority of large scale change efforts fail. Which means that the probability that you have actually experienced a failure, and your people know that and are pessimistic, therefore, about trying something again, is very high.
I took a workshop from him a few months after that. That experience changed my whole approach to photography. At that workshop in Yosemite in 1973 I decided I wanted to try and see if I could pursue this for myself, and I’m still trying.
The Romans weren’t trying to kill all the Jews, but they did destroy Jewish resistance to Roman rule. Jerusalem was turned into a Roman army camp, and it was a total devastation.
I do believe that freedom isn’t free – but today the corporate and political right wing is trying to cheapen this truly American value. They’ve been cynically using the word ‘freedom’ to rally the American public against its own best interests.
Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early.
Before trying a novel I wrote a couple of plays.